Are These They? Or: Why I love The Venture Bros

A LOOK AT WHAT MAKES THIS CARTOON SO COMPELLING FOR SO MANY PEOPLE.

Growing up as a 90’s kid retro cartoons were readily available thanks in large part to the Saturday morning ritual of too much sugary cereal (looking at you Fruity Pebbles and Trix!) being offered up to the God’s Hannah and Barbera. The old 60’s adventure cartoons always stuck with me so when Adult Swim first aired a show that spoofed Johnny Quest, the Hurculoids, and even the old Fantastic Four Cartoon (the one with H.E.R.B.I.E. and not the Human Torch because the executives were worried kids would pour gas on themselves and then light themselves on fire because kids are stupid,)  I was all for it.

The Venture Bros. combines that same self-indulgent 60’s campiness with something far more original. It takes the superhero and adventurer genre and turns it on its ear. Filled with pop culture references that never seem dated and science fiction tropes that never fail to entertain, Doc Hammer and Jackson Public, two men who I have spoken to personally, have created a timeless program filled with twists and turns that rival some of the best shows on prime time.

I don’t exactly remember when I got into the Venture Bros. It was just one of those things. It was streaming on Netflix and I was bored and through that boredom, I fell in love with some of the best characters created for television.

What appeals to me the most about this show is its fanbase. Maybe it’s just me but there doesn’t seem to be the same toxicity other fanbases suffer from. There are no rabid Venture Bros. fans lining up at McDonald’s to get their hands on special sauces and gatekeeping newer fans from joining in on the fun. I believe my wife said it best when she said that Doc would shut that shut it right down and never make another episode if he found out there was any sort of shenanigans like that going on.

No place is this welcoming fanbase better represented than at Dragon Con in Atlanta. Last year I cosplayed as the Blue Morpho and met up with some fellow VB Cosplayers at the fan booth in the Hilton. We all just sort of hung out together, laughing and having a great time getting our pictures taken. There is a great picture of me with a half-naked Traester wrapped in an American flag with a post-it note saying “Fix It!” I mingled with St. Cloud, a half dozen Henchmen, A Killinger and so many Monarchs and Dr. Mrs. The Monarchs.

The funny thing is, it’s such a low key and welcoming fanbase because Doc and Jackson created characters who are pretty welcoming when you think about it. Rusty is a damaged character and surrounds himself with equally damaged people who have, in a lot of ways, become a tight-knit family. His relationships with his sons, though strained, often lead to emotional gut punch moments like when Rusty asks “Brock, am I a bad person?” It so often comes out of nowhere that you are left slack-jawed because this show shouldn’t be that serious and heavy but it is and we’re grateful for it.

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